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AIBO (Artificial Intelligence roBOt, homonymous with "pal" or "partner" in Japanese) was one of several types of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony; there have been several different models since their introduction on May 11, 1999. AIBO was discontinued in 2006.



Being able to walk, "see" its environment via camera and recognize spoken commands in Spanish and English; AIBO robotic pets are considered to be autonomous robots since they are able to learn and mature based on external stimuli from their owner or environment, or from other AIBOs. Artist Hajime Sorayama created the initial designs for the AIBO.

The original designs are part of the permanent collections of MoMA and the Smithsonian Institution. The design won Sony and artist Sorayama the highest design award that may be conferred by Japan. On January 26, 2006 Sony announced that it would discontinue AIBO and several other products as of March, 2006 in Sony's effort to make the company more profitable. It also stopped development of the QRIO robot. AIBO will still be supported until 2013 (ERS7 model) and AIBO technology will continue to be developed for use in other consumer products.[1]

AIBOware (the name is a trademark of Sony corporation), is the title given to the software the AIBO runs on its pink Memory Stick. The Life AIBOware allows the robot to be raised from pup to fully grown adult while going through various stages of development as its owner interacts with it. The Explorer AIBOware allows the owner to interact with a fully mature robot able to understand (though not necessarily willing to obey) 100 voice commands. Without the AIBOware, the AIBO will run in what is called "clinic mode" and can only perform basic actions.

Many AIBO owners enjoy teaching their pets new behaviors by reprogramming them (in Sony's special 'R-CODE' language). However, in October 2001, Sony sent a cease-and-desist notice to the webmaster of Aibopet, demanding that he stop distributing code that was retrieved by bypassing the copy protection mechanisms of the robot. Eventually, in the face of many outraged AIBO owners, Sony released a programmer's kit for 'non-commercial' use. The kit has now been expanded into three distinct tools: R-CODE, AIBO Remote Framework, and the OPEN-R SDK. These three tools are combined under the name AIBO Software Development Environment. All of these tools are free to download and can be used for commercial or non-commercial use (Except for the OPEN-R SDK, which is specifically for non-commercial use). Since the first release of OPEN-R, several AIBO programming tools have been developed by university labs, including URBI [2], Tekkotsu [3], Pyro[4] and AiBO+[5]. The Open-R and gcc based toolchain has been updated by the community to use gcc 4.1.2, binutils 2.17 and newlib 2.15. The packaged version of the old and updated Aibo toolchain is available for Ubuntu in a PPA[6].

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